The financial sector is undergoing a massive transformation due to the latest technological advances - this is as profound for financial institutions and issuers as industrialisation once was for the production of physical goods.
These innovations include very different types of technologies, financial services and institutions. However, they are all based on innovations brought about by digitalisation, such as
- the emergence of internet-based platforms and the disintermediation that this makes possible,
- the decentralisation, privatisation and transnationalisation of data and its documentation in particular, driven by blockchain and distributed ledger technologies; and
- the transfer of decisions to algorithms and artificial intelligence.
These innovations are in turn leading to market phenomena such as crowdfunding and crowdlending, cryptocurrencies, ICOs/STOs and robo-advice, which are disruptively changing traditional bank-based capital markets, payments and investment business, as well as VC financing.
The TMF Group's consulting spectrum includes the following focal points in particular:
- Financial regulation (including insurance regulation)
- Payment Services
- Digital asset management
- Crypto regulation, securities regulation and capital markets law
- IT law (including outsourcing, cloud solutions, licensing)
- Compliance, in particular data protection and anti-money laundering law
- Fintech transactions (financial markets M&A, financing rounds, restructurings)
- Digital corporate law
- Marketing of own LegalTech and RegTech services
At Fieldfisher, we have lawyers who understand technology and the financial industry. We help our clients develop and protect their digital infrastructure, deliver innovative products and improve their operational and compliance systems.
Our TMF (Technology meets Finance) team provides interdisciplinary advice to all market participants from start-ups and early-stage companies to multinational corporations. We support banks, payment institutions, FinTech companies, financial service providers and securities firms with regard to the multitude of regulatory requirements (EU General Data Protection Regulation, BAIT, KRITIS, NIS Directive, PSD2, MiFID II, MAR, WpHG, ZAG, KWG, VermAnlG, KAGB), which pose major challenges, especially for digital business models (ICOs/STOs, ePayment).
Tech Meets Finance - Focus areas
We advise banks, financial service providers, payment service providers, investment firms and insurance companies and intermediaries at the interface of financial market regulation and technology. This includes, above all, advising on the introduction of innovative financial, investment and insurance products. A particular strength here is our compliance expertise, especially in the areas of data protection and anti-money laundering.
We advise established technology companies on their entry into the financial market with innovative banking and financial products as well as payment service solutions, both on Banking as a Service (BaaS) models, including outsourcing matters, and on licensing procedures. We also advise FinTechs and InsurTechs that provide technical and digital services in the financial sector as outsourcing partners. We also advise on large IT projects in the financial sector, such as outsourcing, cloud solutions and digitalisation projects.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is giving rise to numerous new business models and is revolutionising consumer protection in the legal sector, among other things. For example, intelligent databases allow mass proceedings before the courts to be checked for their chances of success before a lawsuit is filed. Another central field of application in the financial sector is robo-advice, in which "learning AIs" are used particularly frequently. Here, the technology must be in line with securities trading law and new ground is being broken for civil liability law.
We advise banks, financial service providers, payment service providers, securities firms and insurance companies and intermediaries comprehensively on data protection and anti-money laundering (AML) law as well as other compliance areas.
The protection of digital data and information technology systems against theft and hacker attacks poses not only growing technical but also legal challenges for companies and especially financial service providers. Our market-leading privacy and data protection expertise ensures our clients' compliance with regulatory requirements of data protection authorities and supervision.
One of our key areas of expertise in AML is advising on digital solutions to implement customer onboarding and know-your-client (KYC) requirements (digital identification).
We advise crowdinvesting platforms on innovative business models, such as the launch of crowdbonds under the new prospectus law.
We provide comprehensive advice to market participants on crypto business models as well as other DLT/blockchain use cases in the financial industry (including tokenisation of securities, smart contracts, blockchain-based transactions with promissory note loans and settlement of securities transactions). One focus is on advice in connection with the regulation of crypto securities as well as licensing obligations such as crypto custody and cross-border aspects (passporting).
We advise start-ups and established market participants on the design and structuring of web- and app-based digital platforms for asset management and securities trading. In doing so, we advise on obtaining the relevant licences as well as on the design and implementation of governance and compliance requirements. One of the focal points here is advice in connection with the trading of crypto securities and crypto-based products.
We advise on corporate transactions in the FinTech market, such as acquisitions, capital increases, IPOs and restructurings, advising both the companies and investors, such as venture capital and private equity funds or strategies.
Fieldfisher is a pioneer in the field of LegalTech applications and supports leading market participants in the introduction of innovative and "frame-shaping" solutions. The Condor product is being rolled out for the German banking and financial services landscape. In addition, new solutions for capital investment products and the implementation of compliance requirements are being developed with external LegalTech providers (BRYTER).
We advise payment and e-money institutions on the implementation of their regulatory obligations under PSD II and ZAG, as well as on obtaining the relevant licences. This includes, in particular, advice on the obligations to open interfaces (Lex Apple Pay) and on strong customer authentication, as well as advice on the structuring of innovative digital payment systems. An important role is also played by advice on authorisation and registration obligations, as well as conduct and governance requirements of so-called third-party payment service providers, namely payment initiation services and account information services.
We have particular expertise in platform solutions and advise in this context, for example, on issues of intermediary liability, on contract drafting Cloud/SaaS both B2C and B2B or on general competition law. We also advise online platforms on the structuring, licensing and implementation of their business model.
In the context of ICOs and the increasing emergence of platform solutions and data sharing models in the financial industry, IT-legal contractual relationships and the appropriate governance models play an important role. Private blockchain solutions in particular require a clean contractual delineation of the roles and responsibilities of the companies involved. This applies not only with regard to IT-legal contracts (provider contracts / software development / software use and licences), but also in particular with regard to data protection responsibility as "controller" or "processor".
In addition, with regard to IT security issues, the general, but in particular the bank or financial market-specific requirements (MAGO/MA RISK, VAIT, BSI C5 etc.), must be taken into account in the contract construction. We have a high level of expertise in this area in advising on technology and IT law as well as data protection.